Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NO ANTI-SEIZE ON WHEEL STUDS OR LUG NUTS


If you apply any friction modifying substance, like oil or anti-seize, to the wheel stud threads, it is going to change the measured torque values. With less friction on the threads, the torque values increase. So, when you tighten a wheel to 85 ft/lbs, it may actually be torqued at 95 ft/lbs (this includes torque wrenches and sticks). The increase in force will mean that the studs will stretch under the increased torque. This stretching can lead to metal fatigue, changes in thread geometry and the possible failure.
This can be a very significant problem, and I apologize for letting it slip. But, in doing some research, I encountered another aspect of anti-seize on wheel studs that can be an even greater problem. If you encounter a vehicle with anti-seize on the wheel studs, be very careful. Take time to explain to the driver why anti-seize is bad and how it can cause problems. Also, advise them that there is a potential for failure during normal service. You should also put it on the repair order.
Is there a right way to use lubricants around the wheel? Yes, but it has to be a high-temperature lubricant used only in a very light coating. First, a high-temperature lubricant can be used where the hub goes through the center of the wheel. Many vehicles use the hub to center the wheel. These “hub-centric” designs can benefit from a very light coating.
On some conical lug nuts, you can put a light coating on the seating surfaces of the cone, while avoiding any contamination with the threads. This coating can prevent corrosion. Thank you Ed, for setting me straight.
But, in a 1994 Ford TSB they did say it was alright to use anti-seize on studs for some F-250 and 350 trucks, these studs and lugs are so stout and strong, a few extra or less pounds of torque are of little consequence.

Here is a great source of fastener related tech info from ARP

43 comments:

Dean said...

How can a lubricant increase torque? Torque is torque. Lubricant can only assure that proper torque is achieved. Think about it.

Bodybagger said...

I'm sure Mr. Markel was referring to "fastener preload tension" which is the actual tensile force on the wheel stud. However, he's not addressing engineers so very few people would understand that term.

Perhaps a more accurate term would be "equivalent dry torque" as the torque values specified by manufacturers are for dry threads unless otherwise noted. Torque is just an indirect way of measuring how much tension is in the stud. Nothing more.

The actual force experienced by the stud is given by the formula:

F=T/([P/2pi]+[uT*rT/cos a]+[uB*RB])

F=tensile force on stud
T=applied torque
P=thread pitch
uT=coefficient of friction between threads
rT=radius of thread midline
a=30 degrees for common thread
uB=coefficient of friction for the bearing surface under fastener
rB=radius of bearing surface midline

Adding lubricant significantly reduces uT and uB, resulting in larger F for a given T.

True. Adding lube increases the load on bolts at a given torque.

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Paul said...

I have been using anti-seize for over 30 years and I can never recall a torque issue EVER! We used anti-seize in the military and used anti-seize on lugs among other thing and never changed manufacturing specs for achieving proper torque. You can not nor can you ever achieve proper torque after the hardware has been exposed to the elements. When the hardware is new, yes and that is what the engineers determine torque for. But how do you determine torque for the amount of corrosion hardware was exposed to? TOO MANY VARIABLES. So to go from 85 foot pounds to 95 foot pounds will either be not enough or too much. When I torque wheels I go over approx. 10% of the maximum value depending on the variables at hand to ensure that I have achieved maximum torque and believe me a 10% difference will not harm hardware. Engineers do not design hardware to fail at 10% not even fifty percent over torque (although I have seen this practiced but do not advise doing so). So I can be safe to say that as long that the mating surfaces between lug and nut are not compromised by debris or oil of any king then using anti-seize on the threads alone is a good idea.

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Grease Monkey said...

Up here in Northern Canada we have a choice of two coatings for wheel studs. They are lube or rust; heavy rust. This is due to the tremendous amount of salt used on winter roads. Your rationale of "do not lube wheel studs" is a request for disaster up here.

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